Grealish admits adjusting to Man City was “a lot harder than I thought”


You would surely have a good chance that Barcelona would be the first club to spend any money in the January transfer window, which apparently would not have been the case.

However, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola confirmed at a press conference on Thursday that Ferran Torres is set to leave the Etihad stadium for Camp Nou, with a deal worth up to 55million. pound sterling.

It may seem curious that Barca are spending such sums of money given the financial issues that made it difficult for them to sign new players at the start of the season until they lightened the mass salary, even leading Lionel Messi to leave for Paris Saint -Germain.

A recent bank loan apparently made the deal possible, and Torres seems like the kind of forward-thinking signing the club should have done in recent years instead of some of the more reckless steps that have been taken.

New Barca boss Xavi is aiming to usher in a new era with a club that has lost track of late, with the nadir arguably being the humiliating exit from the Champions League in the group stage.

That being said, is this really an agreement that would make sense to all parties? Stats Perform takes a closer look at what appears to be the first big deal in the upcoming January transfer window.

Why Barcelona want the player

When he joined City from his hometown club Valencia in August last year, Torres was considered one of the most promising youngsters to come out of Spain as a quick forward.

Although the England debut was slow for the then 20-year-old, a hat-trick for Spain in Germany’s 6-0 Nations League demolition was quickly followed by his first Premier League goal. in a 5-0 win over Burnley. , before Torres scored six more in the league last season, including an impressive hat-trick in a 4-3 win at Newcastle.

Perhaps it was his form for the Spain national team that caught the attention of the powerful at Camp Nou, however, with this hat-trick against Germany contributing to the 12 goals he scored for La Roja, including two at the re- organized the Euro 2020 tournament against Slovakia and Croatia.

A brace in the 2-1 Nations League win over Italy in October illustrated his quality, but a foot injury has kept Torres from playing since the final loss to France in that competition.

Meanwhile, Barca headed for the winter break in seventh place in La Liga, just two points behind the top four but 18 points behind leaders Real Madrid, albeit with one game less.

Despite their difficulties without Messi, the Blaugrana are third in goals scored (29), behind only Madrid (41) and Real Betis (32).

However, only Memphis Depay (eight) have scored more than three league goals, with second-best scorer Ansu Fati having only played five games so far.

Losing Messi was a blow, but it could be argued that Barca have actually missed Luis Suarez more since the Uruguayan was inexplicably cleared to move to Atletico Madrid after the 2019-20 season.

Martin Braithwaite was never likely to replace Suarez’s goals, scoring 10 in 56 appearances (22 starts) since Leganes signing in February 2020, and Luuk de Jong has only managed one in 12 appearances (six starts) since arriving on loan from Seville in September. , the Dutchman appearing to be coming out soon anyway.

Although he started his life as a wide player, Torres seems to have been constantly reinvented as a center forward, which could be exactly what Xavi is looking for given his top forwards at Depay, Fati and Ousmane Dembele. all prefer to play wide.

Torres has scored 16 goals in all competitions for Manchester City, as well as 12 for his country in under 18 months.

It might not be quite the old ‘MSN’ attack from Messi, Suarez, and Neymar, but if Xavi has Torres with Dembele, Fati, and Depay to call, he’s still going to have one of the most promising lines. from Spain.

Why Manchester City are happy to let the player go

It sounds like a similar situation to the one that saw Leroy Sane return to Germany with Bayern Munich last year.

Firstly, it seems clear the move is happening because the player wants it rather than the selling club, but City will still be happy with the eventual deal if it goes through.

“If he wants to leave, absolutely no disappointment,” Guardiola said Thursday.

“That’s his desire. I’m happy for him. If you want to leave because you’re not happy here, you think you’ll be happy somewhere else, you have to leave. The career is short.”

Torres has looked impressive for most of his short career at City, but more than doubling their roughly £ 21million spending on the player in under 18 months is a steal on anyone’s pound.

He ended last season as if he’s set to become a star in the Etihad, but with the arrival of Jack Grealish and the return to form of Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling, it’s hard to see where Torres would get regular games away from the center-forward position, where he started this campaign.

City’s unsuccessful efforts to sign Harry Kane this summer have suggested that Pep wants more of his ultimate replacement for Sergio Aguero.

Torres has the best goals-per-90-minute record of any City player since arriving in August 2020 (0.55), but his overall created chances (29) were only slightly better than defensive midfielder Fernandinho (26), and well behind all the other main attackers. players.

It looks like the player is now more of a goalscorer than a goalie now, but Guardiola probably thinks he can still call on a super elite player like Kane or Erling Haaland in the next two windows to fill that role, this that would leave even further. Torres as a marginal player.

Why Torres wants the move

At first glance, one can assume that this is a simple desire to return to one’s country of origin. Torres joined City when he was 20, and it wouldn’t be surprising, especially given how the world has changed since then, if he’s feeling homesick a little.

However, from a football point of view, it seems odd. He will leave the champions of England, again at the top of the league and one of the favorites in the Champions League, to join a Barca side who now reside in the Europa League and who might even struggle to finish in the Champions League. LaLiga top four.

As well as returning to a more familiar environment and much better weather, Torres may be intrigued by the idea of ​​leading Barcelona’s next era, obviously still a club with a huge history and reputation, now under the direction of the legendary Xavi.

At City, Torres has been one of many, more than playing his part but ultimately not being someone Guardiola has relied on in the biggest games. He was an unused replacement in last season’s Champions League final loss to Chelsea.

Torres made 36 appearances in all competitions last season and started the first six games of this campaign, but due to injury and simply not being selected, has not played in the Premier League since the 1-0 victory at Leicester City on September 11.

The prospect of potentially becoming one of the faces of Barcelona’s resurrection will no doubt be tempting, although it is certainly much easier said than done.

As with Sane and Bayern, it seems that a very talented player is more wanted and needed by the buying club than the selling club, and the deal itself seems to leave everyone with a reason to be cheerful. .

With so much to do, this might even be one Barcelona accountants can handle.